Monday, July 14, 2008

Wake the World - Beloved

Ministry for women from another trio of ladies

Wake the World
Artist: Beloved (
Label: Trato Records
Length: 11 tracks/44:42 minutes

Wake the World by Atlanta-based pop trio Beloved is their third recording but first to be distributed nationally. These three ladies, come from a variety of backgrounds—a former Miss Georgia and new mom that hosts a popular Christian TV talk show, a woman married for 25 years now realizing dreams that were locked in her heart, and a single woman (think unclaimed blessing) that worked previously at Forefront Records. What they have in common is their stated purpose of encouraging and edifying the body of Christ, particularly women, and to present Jesus Christ as the way of salvation to those who don’t know him.

They hope to achieve this through a variety of means: singing, songwriting, testimony, humor, and most importantly, relationship building. This happens annually at a women’s retreat they sponsor in Georgia, which has sold out the past couple of years. Their funny stories rival their songs in popularity.

Listening to this CD, it’s hard not to compare Beloved with Point of Grace, especially since the latter is now also a trio of women. Beloved are at their best when they somewhat mirror the recent direction taken by Point of Grace—a stripped-down acoustic pop with a hint of country. "River Where Mercy Flows" is a prime example that could pass as either country or Celtic.

Another gem, but in the jangly pop mode, is the Mac Powell produced "Love God, Serve Others, Share Your Story." The song simply summarizes the Christian life and has a sing-a-long chorus that will make this a concert favorite. You can hear a little Third Day in the guitar-driven production.

Having written nine of eleven songs, Beloved stumbles a little in the use of cliches on "I Dare You" and "Wake the World," which happen to be the first two songs. They recover through the rest of the recording with a combination of thoughtful lyrics and pleasant sounding music. One exception, is "You Are Good." Though it’s a decent cover of a popular praise and worship song, I would much rather hear their beautiful voices and harmonizing on another original song. I understand the need for song variation, but one pitfall of them occasionally resorting to pop/rock or contemporary worship is that they are no longer distinct.

They might do well to take their cue from Point of Grace: keep the music light and uncluttered. Let their voices shine through on songs of personal reflection as they have done the majority of the time here.

I enjoyed this. I think a lot of women will as well.
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